Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Parts Of A Cover Letter (A.K.A. How To Write A Good One!)

In this article, I am going to demonstrate the mechanics of a well written cover letter. I hope this provides some knowledge about the parts of a cover letter, and enables you to generate interest from a hiring manager.

1. The Salutation (The Hello)
Get a name, any name. By hook or by crook try to get a name.  Sometimes you can’t – then try To whom it may concern or Dear hiring manager.

     Dear Hiring Manager:

2. The Opening (The Grab)
Your opening paragraph is your introduction and presents the reader with some immediate and focused information regarding the position you are pursuing and a few core competencies that demonstrate your strength:

Having contributed as an operations and general business leader, I am writing to express my interest in [Name of Position] with [Name of Company]. You will see on the enclosed resume I turned around an under-performing business, substantially improved productivity and employee morale, and possess critical and creative thinking skills that will facilitate my swift contribution to your sustained growth.

3. The Second Paragraph (The Hook)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

12 Ways to Get a Job Interview and One Way Not To

Nowadays, most of the work I do involves helping recruiters and hiring managers find and hire perfect people for imperfect jobs. In the manual I give them I also provide a bunch of countermeasures for candidates to use whenever they meet interviewers who don’t follow the steps I recommend. Some of these are highlighted below.

Job Hunting Tip #1: don’t apply directly to any job posting. The only exception to this rule is if you’re a perfect fit based on the skills, experiences and titles listed on the job description. If you’re not a perfect, you shouldn’t spend more than 20% of your time applying to jobs. However, if you think you can do the job, even if you’re not a perfect match on the requirements listed, there are many things you can do to get an interview. Here are my favorites:
  1. Use the Backdoor. Once you know the job title and location, look on LinkedIn or use Google to find the name of the hiring manager or department head. If this doesn’t work, call and ask someone in some other function who’s the VP of the department. The big idea: use the job posting as a lead to work rather than an application button to press.
  2. Get More Referrals. Getting a referral from someone in the company is the best way to get an interview. It’s even better if the referral will give you a personal recommendation. If you’re serious about getting a better job, networking to get referrals should represent 50% or more of your job hunting efforts. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to triple the size of your network in a few weeks.
  3. Be Different. I had one candidate prepare a competitive analysis for a product marketing position in the telecommunications industry. He sent it to the VP who routed it to the Director. He told me he got an interview as a result.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 Things You're Doing Right (But Could Be Doing Better) In Your Job Search

The Muse, Contributor

The bad news: You’re probably doing a lot of things wrong in your job search.

The good news: You’re also likely doing several things right.

The bad news: Some of those things you’re doing right? You could actually be doing them much better.

The good news: We’re about to show you how.

1. Sleuthing Out Contacts Within a Company, but Being Too Forward With the Approach

I like the go-getter in you. You’re not going to just sit there and blindly apply for advertised positions online. No, sir. You’re going to find and endear yourself to people on the inside of companies of interest, to give yourself a leg up on the competition. All good. But not so good if you’re charging at strangers via LinkedIn or other channels like some kind of crazed bull. That’s not networking; that’s ambushing. And no one likes to feel ambushed.

Do it Better

Approach people in a way that you’d want to be approached by a stranger. I’m guessing that you’d be more than willing to chat with or help someone if he or she contacted you in a friendly, flattering, or helpful way before asking for anything from you, right? Be that stranger. Built rapport first before you ask for any big favors.

2. Updating Your LinkedIn Profile, But Alerting Everyone at Your Current Employer That You’re Looking

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile so that your keywords, brand, and tone align with your career goals is incredibly smart. But if you’re a covert job seeker, you can run into some serious snags (especially if your colleagues or boss are among your LinkedIn contacts) if you update several things on your profile without first turning off your activity broadcasts.

Do it Better

If you’re trying to fly under the radar with your search, before you update a single thing on your LinkedIn profile, head into your privacy settings. Within the privacy controls section, select “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts” and uncheck the box that says “Let people know when you change your profile…” This will stop all announcements going out to your network, keeping you in the job-hunting clear.

Read things 3-5 and the complete Forbes article

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Personal Branding FAIL: 4 Errors Job Seekers Make

For those interested in finding work or advancing their careers, establishing a personal brand is essential. This practice effectively involves the cultivation of certain, positive associations with an individual’s name, as when a job seeker brands him or herself as a green plumbing expert, or a people-oriented real estate professional.

As such, more and more individuals are starting to take personal branding seriously. However, according to online marketing professional Rich Gorman, not all branding strategies are created equal. Some well-meaning individuals, either through neglect or misinformation, end up doing more harm than good to their personal brands.

By isolating the most common personal branding fails, individuals can ensure that their branding efforts yield only positive results. Here are a few:

1) Using A Boring LinkedIn Headline
By now, most job seekers understand that LinkedIn is an incredible platform for seeking and finding employment—but are you really using the site to its full potential? The opportunities for personal branding via LinkedIn are abundant, yet it is easy to miss them. For one, make sure you’re not settling for a boring headline. Yes, “Sales Representative” may be your job title, but that’s unlikely to distinguish you from others in your field. Instead, use something that’s more creative, more attention-getting, or simply more loaded with descriptive words.

2) Being Afraid Of Social Media

There are many who believe that, because social media sites can lead to personal branding breakdowns, they are better off avoided altogether. These folks are right that the wrong words can cause reputational peril, but wrong in thinking the solution is to abandon social media altogether. Instead, be strategic in using Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites to cultivate your expertise and authority. Share posts or articles that pertain to your field, and offer your own insights and opinions.

Friday, May 23, 2014

5 Ways to Keep Employers Interested After an Interview

You’ve just finished a phone interview with an employer. Although you’re feeling positive about the interview, the employer said they would only be in touch if they don’t find someone more experienced. Feels like a slap in the face, right?

If you find yourself in this situation after an interview, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. Your first thought after a bad job search experience might be the employer will never contact you. You could also make the decision to forget about the interview and move forward with the rest of your job search. Regardless of how you’re feeling about the interview, don’t give up hope just yet.

There’s a secret to getting noticed by employers after an interview; you need to keep them interested even if they don’t hire you for the position. If you can make a good first impression and catch an employer’s interest, they’re bound to keep you at the top of their list of potential candidates.

To keep an employer interested in your application, it’ll require some action on your part. Here are five ways you can keep your application at the forefront of an employer’s mind during their hiring process:

1. Take initiative. 
If the interview didn’t end as you had hoped, it’s up to you to keep your name fresh in the interviewer’s mind. Take initiative to follow up with the interviewer and establish a connection. Even if the employer cannot offer you a job, find out if they can keep you updated about future job opportunities. This way, the interview doesn’t go to waste and you have a new connection.

2. Read between the lines during communication.
Once the interview is over, take notes of the positive and negative feedback you received from the interviewer. For example, the employer said you’d be a stronger candidate if you had at least one year of experience. Instead of ignoring the interviewer’s feedback, inquire about internship opportunities. This shows your eagerness to learn and your interest in the company.

3. Gauge the employer’s attitude.  - Read more about way #3, ways 4&5, and the complete glassdoor article

Thursday, May 22, 2014

5 Job Search Time Wasters To Avoid

by Helen Evans

Searching for a job can be a full-time job in itself. Between searching online job boards and networking with others, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the job hunting process. While there’s no substitute for hard work, there are some things that you might be doing that waste your time.

Here are a few job search time wasters to avoid:

1. Applying For Jobs You Aren’t Qualified For
If you are in desperate need of a job, you may be tempted to apply for all of the latest job openings posted online. The problem with this strategy is that every employer has its own set of criteria for each job posting. If you don’t meet this criteria, applying for the job will only waste your time (and the time of the employer).

Recruiters and hiring managers are not likely to consider you for the position if you don’t meet their minimum requirements. Instead of wasting your time applying for every job listing you can find, focus on applying for jobs that you actually qualify for.

2. Not Expanding Your Search Methods
Many job seekers focus all of their energy searching online for job opportunities. Online job boards should be an integral part of your search, but it should not the only avenue you focus on. Try setting up email alerts for new job postings that meet your criteria and trying new job search outlets. Aside from online job boards and social media, you can also attend networking events and job fairs to get in touch with recruiters. Diversifying your search will increase your chances of landing the job you want.

Read time wasters 3-5 and the complete Careerealism article at

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How To Create A Resume With Impact: Duties Vs. Results

When preparing your resume, remember this is a document to market your experience and skills, and showcase what you have to offer. Your resume is much more effective and attractive to employers when it demonstrates what you have achieved with your previous experiences and what you can potentially achieve for the new employer.

Unfortunately, a bunch of the resumes employers receive today still read like a laundry list of duties. Avoid this common mistake with the tips below to create a resume with impact.

Don’t state the obvious
If you’re simply describing your job duties on your resume – a generic job description – there’s likely going to be little interest from employers. Although today’s Applicant Tracking Systems (the software that reads and ranks resumes) will need this information, employers really need to know how you performed against goals or your peers.

Quantify and qualify accomplishments
Your accomplishments on the job are what will differentiate you from the next candidate. It’s also what will help demonstrate you are the best candidate for the job. So for instance, if you have a career in sales, rather than state the obvious: “Contact prospective customers to introduce new product releases.” 

Tie in results you’ve achieved. A more effective statement would read: “Initiated contact with 
prospective customers on new product releases and secured sales contracts, ranking as the top sales person of the year.” This latter statement provides insight to why you make a great candidate for a job in sales.

Bad: “Contact prospective customers to introduce new product releases.”
Good: “Initiated contact with prospective customers on new product releases and secured sales contracts, ranking as the top sales person of the year.”

If you are in a position that does not quantify accomplishments, then consider these questions:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

For the Perfect Resume: Dump These 7 Tired Cliches

by Brazen Careerist

You may think your resume is already tip top, but put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter, who looks at hundreds of resumes every day. To them, most look and sound exactly like all the other nondescript resumes in their pile.

If you’re using the same tired phrases as everyone else, you’re not as exciting — or as hireable — as you thought you were.

A recruiter spends an average of six to 10 seconds per resume. Do you really want to waste even one of those precious milliseconds with a single word that doesn’t add to your credibility?

Nix these seven clichés from your resume, and you’ll be well on your way to grabbing the recruiter’s attention — and staying out of the “no thanks” pile, once and for all.

1. Replace Qualitative with Quantitative

Your resume will read like a work of fiction when you use cliché phrases like “seasoned manager” or “influential leader” without an accompanying explanation.

Drop the qualitative description and add years of experience, job-specific technical skills and quantifiable achievements instead. Better yet, add graphs and other visuals to show what you’ve accomplished in previous jobs.

Not many applicants use visuals, but these graphics do more than add aesthetic appeal to your resume — visuals can add an air of credibility to your claims, which helps the recruiter believe you.

2. Cut out “Creative”

“Creative” might seem like the perfect word to describe your unique personality. Unfortunately, thousands of other applicants think the same thing; “creative” was the top buzzword for two years in LinkedIn’s annual survey of clichés.

Recruiters have seen this word so much they will completely gloss over whatever comes next.

Instead of telling the recruiter you’re creative, show them evidence of your creativity. Write a compelling cover letter or create a video resume to narrate the highlights of your career. Add interesting (nice-to-know, but not-so-personal) tidbits about yourself, and you’ll have a show-stopping resume and cover letter in one neat little package.

Read all 7 tired cliches and the complete article

Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Get Your Resume Past an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

By Frances Chaves

If you apply for a position with a large company, your resume will probably be scanned electronically by an Applicant Tracking System or ATS. According to one ATS company, 75 percent of all resumes submitted do not make it past the screening, no matter how qualified the candidate may be. What can you do to make sure that your resume makes it past the ATS and into the hands of the recruiter or hiring manager?

ATS systems work by scanning your resume, removing styling and parsing or breaking down the text into recognized strings of characters for further analysis. The parser reorganizes pieces of the resume into categories such as education, contact information, skills, and work experience. The program then assigns a value on a scale of 0 to 100, depending on the frequency of keywords from the original job description and your years of experience. The parser then sends your score and the condensed version of your resume to the recruiter or human resources officer. If you get a high enough score, you will probably be invited to an interview. For a reproduction of the ATS report sent to the recruiter/HR, go to:

In the past, ATS systems counted keywords. Now the technology is more sophisticated. Loading up your resume with keywords is no longer enough to ensure a high score. Today’s ATS systems look for semantic matches. These are terms related to the keywords contextually and conceptually.

Here are some ways to get a higher score for your resume:

Resume Content

• Include the same words from the job description in your resume, including job title, description headlines, words used more than twice, and those used to describe the criteria for success in the position.
• Include secondary resume keywords, such as the hiring company’s competitors or experience you have with similar or competitive brands.

Resume format
• Never send your resume as a PDF because ATS systems lack a standard way to structure PDF documents.
• Do not use background images or photos which can block the ATS and make your resume unreadable.
• Use bulleted lists, not paragraphs which are harder for the ATS to decipher.

Read more on these two areas and the complete article

**  I feel the formatting is the most important part as I see too many resumes that come into the different ATSs that are unreadable.  It won't matter how well you choose your content if the system can't read it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

5 Ideas for Job Seekers Who Think Outside the Box

Have you submitted your résumé to hundreds of jobs and gotten no response? Maybe you’ve tried networking and are disappointed in the lack of leads that ensued. There is nothing more frustrating than the rejection and indifference experienced during a job search. The following ideas may just do the trick, help you stand out and get the attention you want. These are geared toward job seekers who are ready, willing and able to put in the extra effort to secure a job and who are not afraid to try new strategies to stand out and be memorable. 

1. Show your creativity: Create an infographic résumé. 
Infographics are popular marketing tools and offer another way to present your experience. Design skills are not necessarily required. For example, if you already have a LinkedIn profile, you can convert it into an infographic using no-cost online tools such as, ResumUP or one offered by and Kelly Services, Inc. If you want to create an infographic using other data, check out Piktochart or An infographic résumé is a newer concept and you may want to see examples to generate ideas of what to include before you embark on your own. Search Google images or Pinterest, and keep in mind that an infographic isn't a substitute for a text résumé. Most recruiters prefer to see the traditional format. You can, however, use your infographic during networking meetings or as a follow-up after a meeting. Don’t forget to embed your infographic résumé in your LinkedIn profile's summary section to catch attention.

2. Don’t wait for the interview: Shoot a video.
Find out more about #2, Ideas 3-5, and the complete USNews article

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

6 Avoidable Job Interview Mistakes (And What to Do Instead)

by Nicole Fallon

There's no denying that a job interview can be incredibly stressful. Most candidates secretly fear that nerves will get the best of them, making them lose their composure and, ultimately, the job.
One misstep during an interview doesn't necessarily mean you're out the door, but it's always best to make sure you're prepared to avoid mistakes. Two hiring experts shared six things you shouldn't do during a job interview, and what you should be doing instead:

Mistake No. 1: Pretending you can do it all. One common interview mistake is telling the hiring manager that you are good at or can do any task he or she describes, even if you can't. John Mahony, COO of staffing agency Kavaliro, said that honesty is the best policy. 
"In most cases, managers are looking for individuals that can stand out in a few specific areas," Mahony told Business News Daily. "Be honest in an interview and know your strengths and weaknesses. If you sell yourself on something you are not, you will be exposed very quickly if you do get the job."  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pleasantly Persistent: 5 Rules for Effectively Following Up During Your Job Search

By Elliott Bell

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about his job search that went something like this:

Friend: I wrote to him last week and still haven’t heard back. It’s so frustrating.

Me: Why not follow up and check in?

Friend: I don’t want to be annoying.

I understand the fear. No one wants to be annoying or bothersome to a professional contact, especially when you want a job, meeting, sales dollars, or something else very important from that person.
But here’s the rub. The average person can get a few hundred emails a day. That makes it pretty tough to respond to all of them, and things naturally fall to the bottom of the list. If you don’t get a response, it doesn’t mean that someone’s ignoring you—it just may mean that he or she is too busy.

So, to the question: Should you follow up? Absolutely. In fact, it’s your job. And how often should you do so? My philosophy is: As many times as it takes. The important thing is to do it the right way. Or, as I call it, to be “pleasantly persistent.”

Here are a few tips on how to (nicely) follow up with that hiring manager, sales lead, or VIP—and get the answer you’re looking for.

Rule 1: Be Overly Polite and Humble

That seems obvious enough, but a lot of people take it personally when they don’t hear back from someone right away. Resist the urge to get upset or mad, and never take your feelings out in an email, saying something like, “You haven’t responded yet,” or “You ignored my first email.” Just maintain an extremely polite tone throughout the entire email thread. Showing that you’re friendly and that you understand how busy your contact is is a good way to keep him or her interested (and not mad).

Rule 2: Persistent Doesn’t Mean Every Day

Monday, May 5, 2014

Top 50 Career Handles on Twitter

Companies use exclusive Recruiting handles on twitter to nurture and connect with their talent community and to share updates on upcoming  job opportunities within their organization. If you are a job seeker, following the career handle of the companies that you are interested in can help you stay tuned to their job updates and connect with the recruiters as well.

Here is a list that I prepared for the jobseekers that I think can help many. Most of the companies that I have included in this are from “100 Great places to work” list and a few others which I thought are doing a great job in building their employer brand and connecting with candidates. And you can subscribe to the twitter list I created – ‘Career handles & Jobs’ that has over 250 company’s career handles.

5Goldman Sachs Group@GSCareers
6Bright Horizons Family Solutions@BrightHorizons
10Hyatt Hotels@hyattcareers

Friday, May 2, 2014

Should I Put That On My Resume? 10 Scenarios

By Melissa Llarena

Writing a great resume is hard. To condense your background and accomplishments into 1-2 pages and have it stand out amongst hundreds of resumes is painful but necessary. Crafting a top-notch resume requires being thoughtful and knowing what to include to help you get your foot in the door.

As someone with a unique professional background who has transitioned across multiple business units and now coaches others on how to do the same, I understand how to build a resume that stays true to who you are while differentiating you from the competition. I am also well-versed in helping clients answer the question, “Should I put that on my resume?”

Here are 10 scenarios I have encountered and my advice on what to include:

Scenario: You worked full-time at a company for less than a year.

Verdict: It depends.
No, if you left on poor terms and do not have a reference from that job.

Yes, if you left on good terms and the opportunity fills a resume gap (e.g. time or skill).

Throughout my years of coaching professionals with varying backgrounds, the response to this scenario has often been yes. Explaining a gap in a resume is always something that should be proactively addressed in person and on paper.

Scenario: You freelanced and took on short-term assignments while unemployed.

Verdict: Yes.

Freelancing shows that you’re a self-starter, so it’s important you highlight that quality. Depending on the length of your freelance work, you can either list each assignment separately or put all your freelance jobs under one title (tip: if you have several clients, create a company name for yourself and list all freelance work under it).

Scenarios 3-10 and the complete Forbes article

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Killer Cover Letter Tips for Your Job Search


Writing a cover letter for your dream job, but don’t know where to start? It’s a common problem. Many people are so intimidated by having to write a cover letter they skip it completely — which can be a mistake: It’s your first opportunity to make a stellar impression with anything but your resume, which can be dry.

Your cover letter has to be excellent to make a good impression. If you include these five elements in your letter, you’re almost guaranteed job-hunting success. Try it — play along as you read.
You need…

1. A compelling first line

Too many cover letters start with “I am pleased to submit my application for the marketing assistant job posted on your website,” which is a snooze-fest. Even “I’m excited to apply for your marketing assistant position” is about eight hundred times better because you sound like a human being.

If you want to go beyond “I’m excited to apply for…” you have a few options. Consider starting by dropping a name or with an anecdote (“If the Jell-O Wrestling Club’s latest match hadn’t ended with two injured contestants, it wouldn’t have been facing the biggest PR disaster of its short life. But now I had to fix it.”).

By the way, it’s helpful to include a name (as long as it’s spelled correctly — quadruple check this, please), but you don’t need one. “Dear hiring manager” is fine and preferable to “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam,” no matter what MS Office’s Clippy tells you.

2. A list (but not actually) of all you bring to the company

3. A story: show it, don’t tell it